The Offbeat Bride: Julie, Employee Benefits Consultant
Her offbeat partner: Vincent, Software Engineer
Date and location of wedding: In front of Mazu Goddess of the Empty Sea at Burning Man, Black Rock City, Nevada — September 3, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our dream was to be married at Burning Man. We are both fire spinners/dancers and met auditioning for a dance troupe that would be performing at Burning Man. However, since our family and many of our friends would not make it out to the dusty desert and harsh conditions, we decided to have two weddings. The first took place on June 12th, 2015. We had small private ceremony in my parent's backyard, followed by a fun, whimsical, unicorn-themed party with friends and family.
The second wedding was held at Burning Man on September 3, 2015. At Burning Man, it's important to leave all expectations at the door. We sent an invitation to our burner friends indicating the wedding time and date. The location was yet to be determined, since we had no idea what art installation we would see there that moved us and we would want to get married by.
We found a beautiful temple, called Mazu Goddess of the Empty Sea. The moment we saw it, we knew this would be the place that we wanted to hold our ceremony. I loved the large lotus flower that bloomed on top of the temple. The lotus was also particularly meaningful to us since it is known to be associated with fertility, spirituality, faithfulness, and eternity. Even though our legal ceremony had been a few months prior, the one at Burning Man was equally, if not more relevant, in our eyes. Since our wedding was unicorn-themed, I held a stuffed animal unicorn during the ceremony as well as my bridesmaids.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We were referred to an officiant who had volunteered to do wedding ceremonies on the playa (there is no exchange of money or bartering at Burning Man since it is a gifting society). We spoke to the officiant before Burning Man and he seemed like a perfect fit. He knew our story and knew that we wanted a non-religious ceremony and that we wanted to read our own vows that we had written for one and other. He also knew exactly where we were camped and where to meet us on the big day.
As it turns out, it was time for us to get married, and our wedding officiant was nowhere to be found! We waited for 45 minutes for him, as everyone was beginning to get impatient. Just as we found another fellow burner who graciously volunteered to marry us, our original wedding officiant showed up. He seemed disoriented and completely different from the person we had previously spoken to several times over the phone and email. We carried on and was given a ride to our wedding location in a friend's furry panda art car/mutant vehicle. As the ceremony began, we realized the officiant lost his notes and was basically making it all up as he went along. He made terrible jokes and read other people's wedding vows! We all just laughed and then proceeded to read our own vows to each other. This was a moment we certainly will never forget. Looking back, it was a beautiful ceremony with just some super awkward moments.
Tell us about your reception:
At Burning Man, the decor is the playa and the attendees who are dressed in the most mind-blowing costumes. The vibe was fun, whimsical, and light-hearted. I made my wedding bouquet out of flower-shaped lollipops. When it was time to throw the bouquet, everyone went for it (not just the ladies). One of the sweetest moments was a little girl running up to me asking for one of the flower lollipops right before I threw the bouquet. I gladly took some out to give her and it brought a huge smile to her face.
We gave out party favors after the ceremony, which contained a few Burning Man essentials, such as matches, a key-shaped bottle opener, Band-aids, powdered beverage mix with vitamins and electrolytes, and candy.
What was your most important lesson learned?
The biggest wedding planning challenge by far was planning a wedding when you didn't even know the location the ceremony would take place. All we could do is pick a date, time, and hope that our friends would find our camp. This is especially difficult because there is no internet or cell phone reception at Burning Man. Once we confirmed the address of our camp at Burning Man before we arrived, we sent out a Facebook update to all our friends, telling them to meet us in front of our camp on our wedding day. Fortunately, it worked out well. My only advice for Offbeat Bride readers that plan to get married at Burning Man is to let go of all expectations and just go with the flow.
- Photographer: Lea Alexandrine
- Officiant: Jamie Dee
- Florist: Bethesda Florist
- Caterer: Spilled Milk Catering
- Party Planner: April's Showers and Parties
- Invitations: Wedfest
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Comments on A unicorn wedding with burning love on the playa
Congrats Julie and Vince!!! This is such an awesome featured wedding. Your love for each other shows through in every photo. So glad you did it the way you wanted it and made it so meaningful and creative 🙂
Love you both!
Awww, thanks sweetie! Love you so much 🙂
Both weddings were very personalized and fantastic. I love love love your Native American Mohawk style of headdress with the feathers, and your shoes and your dress!!! Your groom/husband had a cool suit and top hat.
Your officiant at Burning Man (and note I never attended it..) may been “chemically altered / on something” and he did let you down.
But your survived you celebrated with friends and made it work. Best Wishes and happiness in your life together!!!
Thank you so much for the kind words, love! I think you hit the nail on the head about our officiant…maybe too much partying the days/nights before. That would definitely explain it!
Love the bride & groom’s headwear at the Burning Man ceremony. Fabulous!!!
Thank you so much!!! My Mohawk headdress was created by the lovely and talented Lacey Bannister of Straight-Laced. I decorated my husband’s white top hat with feathers that shed from our Red Bellied Parrot and embellishments passed down from my mom to make it more personal and unique.
Helping friends arrange outfits for their burner wedding. Wondering where your husband’s jacket,vest and pants are from!
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